Friday, July 03, 2015

IFA conference starts tomorrow! I do podcasts, talks, and book selling!

I am leaving today for the IFA conference in Lisbon, the capital of the Southern European country of Portugal. A great way to meet people from around the world: clinicians, scientists, and people who stutter.

In cooperation with StutterTalk and the conference organizers, I will be recording podcasts from the conference, together with Chris Constantino. We will do daily wrap-ups but also conduct interviews with individuals. Peter Reitzes will do the editing work and put them on StutterTalk. I already did a trial podcast interview with Jelena on Stuttering Treatment in Serbia.

My interviewees include the main organizers Kirsten and Hilda, Nan Rantner (on early childhood intervention), Per Alm (on the causes of the moment of stuttering), Paul Brocklehurst (on the impact of long-term meditation on stuttering), and more.

I will also give two talks: Obstacles in measuring outcome of early childhood intervention (check out the Mindool on possible obstacles - you can add and like ideas!) and A novel biopsychosocial model catering for the complexity of stuttering.

The second talk (of which you can find an older version here) is closely related to my just published book on an improved version of the biopsychosocial model (more on my website BPS2.0, and in a published review article with Gilles Michaux entitled How the tower of information leads to an integrated framework for biopsychosocial ideas, see here.)

I will also bring copies of my new book to the conference. Here is a little teaser of the front and back cover!

So I hope to meet some of you at the conference!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

#SaveYourPatience for Stuttering Awareness

Martin Sommer, neurologist and scientist from Goettingen, wrote to me:
I would like to inform you that we are launching a campaign #SaveYourPatience with English texts on youtube videos, therefore accessible to an English-speaking audience. 
You can find them here
The aim is to promote awareness for a specific need of people who stutter, using a novel publicity approach. You can help us a lot by sharing the youtube videos as much as you can. There are five videos that will be launched sequentially from May 1 to May 5, 2015. 
Best regards, and thanks for your enthusiasm and for keeping your blog always updated, 
Martin Sommer for the German Stuttering Association (Bundesvereinigung Stottern & Selbsthilfe) 

Join me to the IFA congress held in Portugal in July!

I will be at the IFA congress at the beginning of July in Lisbon in Portugal.

I will give two presentations, one on my biopsychosocial model and one on obstacles to measure treatment efficacy in early-childhood intervention.

I will also do interview and discussion rounds for Peter Reitzes' StutterTalk with attending scientists and clinicians. I plan to call them Hard Talk in the spirit of BBC's Hard Talk!

I hope to meet you in Lisbon!

And if you are from overseas and plan to add a European tour to your Congress attendance, visit me and Jelena in Luxembourg! We have a spare room...

To finish off, here's a picture of Lisboa.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Marie-Claude's nouveau livre sur le bégaiement

Marie-Claude Monfrais-Pfauwadel a écrit un livre sur le bégaiement entitulé surprise surprise "Begaiement, Bégaiements" chez De Boeck-Solal. Elle dit dans un courriel:
C'est un gros bébé qui m'a demandé un certain temps de gestation ! Mais ce n'est pas fini. Avec l'éditeur nous mettons en place une plateforme numérique dite NOTO à laquelle tout lecteur du livre aura accès grâce à un code personnel dans chaque ouvrage. Cette plateforme contiendra la version numérique du livre, mais aussi des chapitres augmentés, des vidéos, des cours, des articles des tutoriels que je vais poster au fur et à mesure. vous serez avertis de toute nouvelle publication par ma propre page Facebook Begaiement, Bégaiements et vous voyez s'afficher au dessous une nouvelle adresse mail dédiée à mon courrier professionnel Enfin je mets en place chez DeBoeck une nouvelle collection (Fluences et disfluences) de petits livres monographiques de 100-150 pages dédiés à l'un ou l'autres des aspects des bégaiements et de sa prise en charge...... Si le coeur vous en dit, je serai ravie de vous éditer dans cette grande maison qu'est DeBoeck qui est distribuée dans toute la francophonie. Et donnez de vos nouvelles ! cela me fera toujours très plaisir. Bien à vous tous Marie-Claude Monfrais-Pfauwadel Pour les courriers professionnels, merci dorénavant d'utiliser l'adresse mail suivante

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dave Rowley died but our memories have not!

I heard that Dave Rowley died. I have known him for several years, and we met many times at conferences. He once invited me to Leicester to give a lecture on stuttering at his department and encouraged me to present at Oxford until Elsevier took over the reign and prevented him from offering me the reduced fee. He even asked me if I would help him organise the conference in the early days when his assistant dropped out, but his usual indirectness prevented me from only realizing it later! He was always a great fan of my blog, a regular and secret informant about the dodgy underground movements of the stuttering community, and liked to discuss stuff with me. I guess also because his calm personality could not make him say what I said but what he believed too! My condolences go to his family and those close to him!

Please leave your memories on Dave in the Comments Section.

Here is also Norbert's article:

Dave Rowley
A gorgeous spring day in London.
But there are news that turn the brightest day to dust.
Dave Rowley has suffered a heart attack. It was so severe that he did not survive.
Some of you may not know who Dave is. Only a few years ago, Dave retired as a Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University, after many years of teaching speech and language therapists their trade.
He has always had an interest in stammering which led him to a close collaboration with Lena Rustin, one of the founders of the Michael Palin Centre. They looked at the situation of stammering therapy from the two points of the clinician and the researcher – and decided to do something about this.
The result was the Oxford Dysfluency Conference (ODC), one of the biggest, and most important international Conferences about stammering anywhere in the world. It is only held once every three years, and last year he and Sharon Millard organised the 10th Conference, as inspiring as ever.
The Conference is also held in a warm atmosphere, calm, in quiet seclusion at St Catherine’s in the Thames meadows, away from the bustle of Central Oxford. It’s a restful place, with beautiful architecture. To me, the Conference has always been a reflection of Dave’s character.
I’ve had a number of quiet talks with him in Oxford last summer – all my talks with Dave would be quiet, and calm. He was relaxed, at peace, not easily unsettled. In the middle of any Conference crisis, he would be the calm centre.
He’s found happiness in Croatia and has uprooted himself and was building a new home there, a future snatched from him and from Suzana, and from all his friends.
There will be many appreciations of Dave, of his life and his achievements, in the days to come. But on this sunny Spring day, my thoughts are with Suzana and with his family. And I’m sad I won’t be able to take him up on his invitation to visit him in Samobor.
Norbert Lieckfeldt
12 April 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Censorship at the British Stammering Association Facebook page

Wow, I have just witnessed censorship on the British Stammering Association Facebook page. I saw this post and suddenly it was gone.

Interestingly, on another occasion some time ago, Norbert Liekfeldt has blocked me as a Facebook friend for my Facebook posts. Norbert has a problem accepting other people's views if they clash with his own ideology. Especially when they are politically incorrect according to him, which is not ideal for a neutral manager.

As you know, I am for full transparency and open debate. That's why I will post the screenshot here. Things need to be discussed (even if politically not correct) not suppressed! This has been a major disease of the last decade in the UK.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A very important question to Onslow and Packman

Onslow and Packman write in a response to the controversy of Lidcombe becoming the state-sanctioned treatment of choice:
"Indeed, if such evidence emerges for the efficacy of another treatment for early stuttering, we would encourage Speech Pathology Australia to approach the Australian government to consider it also for taxpayer-assisted support."
Here is the key question to them:

The Franken study has shown that there is no difference in efficacy between Lidcombe and a second treatment approach Demands And Capacities. So I ask:

As Lidcombe is effective (according to you) and the Franken study shows a similar efficacy for Demands & Capacities, does that constitute enough evidence to use Demands & Capacities in Australia too?

Deborah Theodoros has been misinformed about the efficacy of Lidcombe

The Australian Speech and Language Association's president Deborah Theodoros seems to be badly misinformed about the efficacy of Lidcombe as she wrote in her statement on Graig Coleman's concern about making Lidcombe the treatment of choice in Australia:
"early stuttering intervention at a level which is demonstrated to be highly efficacious and supported by the strongest level of evidence."
As I understand she is not an expert in stuttering so someone must have whispered in her ear and she refused, so far, to lend her other ear to an opposing opinion. Her statement is completely overblown. (check also my first response to the debate)

Let's deconstruct her statement: "demonstrated to be highly efficacious:"

This is simply not the case if you look at the long-term data and if you know, like me, the many cases clinicians tell me about where it did not work. Even Onslow, Packman, et al's recognize that
At the time of this follow-up, the children were aged 7-12 years, with a mean of 5 years post-randomization in the 2005 trial. Twenty of the 29 children in the treatment arm and eight of the 25 children in the control (no treatment) arm were able to be contacted. Of the children in the treatment group, one (5%) failed to complete treatment and 19 had completed treatment successfully and had zero or near-zero frequency of stuttering. Three of the children (16%) who had completed treatment successfully had relapsed after 2 or more years of speech that was below 1% syllables stuttered. Meaningful comparison with the control group was not possible because an insufficient number of control children were located and some of them received treatment after completing the trial.
To conclude, the treatment was not "highly efficacious" at all, especially if you compare it to the natural recovery rate of 70%-80%. And due to the small number of 29 children, the statistics are bad. And there was no control group to control for natural recovery, so you cannot actually judge the relative performance to a non-treated group.

The statement "supported by the strongest level of evidence." is, as you can see, completely overblown.

Deborah Theodoros should seek independent counsel on this matter to counter the notion that her statement and her association projects a certain carelessness regarding dissenting opinion. She cannot just hear the arguments of those that have worked hard to create and establish, and then also measure the treatment; a clear conflict of interest. All in good intention but nevertheless Lidcombe is neither "highly efficacious" nor supported by "the strongest level of evidence."

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lidcombe the only effective treatment in Australia?

US cultural imperialism, this time for good reasons, has struck Australia. The Australian government and speech and language association has plans to make Lidcombe the unique treatment option available for clinicians to treat stuttering kids, because it is the most studied and has been proven effective. As we all know, this campaign is very likely led by Prof Onslow and his people. He is very much Mr Stuttering in Australia, and sucks up most of the research funding and probably sits on the research council board to decide on other people's funding. He was also so kind to send me a nice letter from his university's lawyer a few years ago, and was very eager to have a few nice chats with the director of a Dutch researcher who wanted to compare Lidcombe with another treatment option - an episode that she has still not spoken publicly about. I wonder what would happen if she were to write an open-ed in a main Australian newspaper about this episode?

So as you see, we again need the Americans to police the world! Soft power of course. Australia deserves an opinion that opposes the opinion of the lords of the lands down under. A petition by Craig Coleman does exactly this:
Recently, Speech Pathology Australia (the national speech-language pathology association of Australia) submitted a proposal to the Australian Government Department of Treasury that would require Medicare rebates be made available for children who stutter, but only if they are treated using the Lidcombe Program. 
The ramifications for this action are significant. As expected, many speech-language pathologists from the U.S. and abroad do not support this action for several reasons. First, this action gravely limits the scope of treatment for stuttering. Many interventions for preschool stuttering have shown to be effective (Millard, Nicholas, & Cook, 2008; Yaruss, Coleman, & Hammer, 2006; Franken, Kielstra-Van der Schalk, & Boelens, 2005).
So what is my opinion?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

To those obsessed by p-values

I have always looked with horror at the near religious and blind application of p-values in hundreds of stuttering research papers.

Here is a blog post discussing p-values:
The journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology has come out with a ban on p-values. To be precise, they've banned the “null hypothesis significance testing procedure” from articles published in the journal. This ban means that authors in the journal can’t claim that an effect they see in their data is “statistically significant” in the usual way that we’re all accustomed to reading.